“Grandpa, what is Spring?” The young boy looked up from his book, a puzzled expression on his face.
“What do you mean, Josh?” Grandpa peered over the tops of his reading glasses.
“Well, this book I’m reading talks about Spring and has all these pictures of stuff I’ve never seen.” Josh lifted his book high so that Grandpa could see the colorful pictures. Grandpa leaned closer squinting just a little. A small sigh escaped his lips.
“Come over here, boy, and lets have a look.” Josh stood up from his pillow near the fire and climbed onto his grandpa’s lap lugging the big book behind him. He opened the book to the first page where “Winter” was written in fancy silver script.
“See, Grandpa, here is the part about winter, I know all about that.” Josh turned several pages until the word “Spring” appeared written in pale green. “This is the part I don’t understand. What are all these colorful things on the first page?”
“Josh, those are flowers. See, this little purple one is a crocus, then the tall yellow ones are daffodils and the red ones are tulips.” Grandpa stroked his fingers gently over the smooth pages. “Those flowers were the first ones of the growing season. They meant that Spring was really here.”
The boy looked up into the wrinkled face of Grandpa. “Were they really that pretty?”
“Hmm.” Josh wasn’t sure he believed Grandpa, but didn’t want to be rude and say so. “What are these things here?”
“Those are trees.”
Josh looked closer. They kind of looked like trees, at least he could see the sturdy brown trunks and there were some pine trees he recognized.
“But what is the green fluffy stuff on top of them?”
“Those are the leaves. They come out in the Spring, give us shade all Summer then turn bright colors in the Autumn before they fall to the ground.” Grandpa leaned back in his chair and stared into the flames dancing in the fireplace.
“How come I have never seen things like flowers and leaves.” Josh stared up at Grandpa, checking for that little grin that told him that his grandpa was teasing. “Are you sure you are telling me the truth, Grandpa?”
“My boy, it is because you were born in the time of Endless Winter. It was the year that Spring never came, nor Summer nor Autumn.” Grandpa turned to look out the window at the bleak landscape, nothing but snow, ice and frozen trees as far as the eye can see. “Someday, Spring will come again and you will see.”
“Will it be in my lifetime, Grandpa?” Josh looked excitedly at his book once more. What would it be like for real and not on a page in a picture book?